Middle Eastern Wedding Traditions
The Middle East contains some of the oldest civilizations on Earth, and so it is little wonder that many of their wedding traditions have been passed down for several centuries. While we must bear in mind that there are as many different traditions and customs as there are different peoples in the Middle East, it is also apparent that the region has a flavor that permeates all of the cultures of the region. The engagement party is the first in a string of five wedding festive weddings celebrations. In many parts of the Middle East it is common for five different parties to be thrown for the wedding ceremony. It starts with the engagement party. The bride and groom invite family and friends and a festive party is thrown, with special foods and much dancing and singing and happy music. Engagement parties can go on late into the night. During the party the bride often changes her dress up to five times. The signing of the marriage contract is cause for even greater celebration. The second party takes place on the day the bride and groom go to the courthouse and sign their marriage contract. Again family and friends are invited and there is much celebration, much music and dancing and song. Once again, it is customary for the bride to change her dress as often as five times during the party. The Hena party is to ward off any evil spirits and to ensure the happiness of the new couple. The third party takes place one day before the wedding and is second only in size to the party on the wedding day itself. This third party is named the Hena party. The word Hena might sound familiar; It’s a dye that is used to make special tattoos to the hands and feet of the bride, especially, to ward off evil spirits. This is also the party at which the “grinding” takes place. In many parts of the Middle East the bride and groom are seated while several unmarried girls hold a white cloth on their heads. The “grinding girl” then grinds together two...
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